Speed Read: Sox Spank Yanks Again At Fenway

Yeah, yeah, I know it’s only June, but the folks in New York can’t be pleased that the Yankees dropped to 0-7 against the Red Sox this year with a 6-5 loss at Fenway last night. To put it in perspective, the last time this happened the Yankees weren’t even the Yankees. It was 1912, and the New York Highlanders (and here I thought there could only be one Highlander) were the ones who couldn’t buy a win against the Sox.

Red Sox spank Yankees

(This is about the only Red Sox spanking Yankee fans wouldn’t mind)

Even more worrisome for New York is the continued debacle that is Chien-Ming Wang. After giving up four runs in 2 2/3 innings, Wang now has a 21.61 ERA in five starts this year — the highest ERA through five starts for a pitcher in the freaking history of baseball. Joe Girardi seems exasperated as to what to do with Wang. They’ve already done the DL thing, and NEW YORK TIMES notes that he was hitting 95 on the gun last night, so it would be hard to argue that he’s hurt again.

Chien-Ming Wang

Mark Teixeira clearly isn’t the problem for the Yankees, as he went 4-for-5 with his league-leading 19th home run. But that doesn’t matter, since A-Rod is signaling to Tex where the catcher is setting up when he’s in the on-deck circle. What, you think that’s crazy talk that only some loose-cannon “analyst” who also thinks that George Clooney is “over there solving that thing” could come up with? Well, OK, you’d be right. AWFUL ANNOUNCING says Rick Sutcliffe has gotten into some hot water with the Yankee duo after accusing them of the pitch tipping on an ESPN broadcast with absolutely no evidence to back it up.

In any case, Boston has reclaimed a one-game lead in the AL East, which is remarkable considering they’ve gotten nothing out of David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka has been mostly a mess in his few starts, Josh Beckett just recently got his act together, they still don’t really have a shortstop, and this guy is milling around Fenway:

Red Sox Fans

Tim Floyd was pushed off a cliff by USC resigned from his position as head coach of USC yesterday in the wake of the O.J. Mayo scandal, and ESPN’s Andy Katz put together a column that lists all of the questions that are now left to be answered in the wake of this move. Katz theorizes, among other things, that Floyd might be USC’s sacrificial lamb in the NCAA’s investigation against the school’s football and basketball programs.

Tim Floyd and OJ Mayo

Floyd’s resignation comes in the wake of most of his team declaring that they wouldn’t be coming back anyway, for various reasons. Marcus Johnson jumped through all of the hoops to earn a waiver for a sixth year of eligibility, then suddenly decided to stay in the NBA draft, where he’s not expected to be picked. Daniel Hackett is even blowing off his senior season to also not get picked by an NBA team. Think they know something we don’t (yet) about where this program is heading, even with Floyd’s departure?

So now what for the Trojans? Would Jamie Dixon, who grew up in So Cal, be up for rebuilding the program? What about Randy Bennett of Saint Mary’s? Rick Pitino? OK, now we’re just getting silly. Which means that Bobby Knight makes all sorts of sense.

Now, here are some things to read while Tom Brady waits to get rescued after flipping his kayak over:

HALOS HEAVEN has a huge break in the Nick Adenhart case, as toxicology reports show that Courtney Stewart, the 20-year-old driver of the car Adenhart was riding in, had a BAC of .016 at the time of her death. That’s twice the legal limit for an adult, and infinity times the limit for a 20-year-old (actually, California generously allows an underager to blow up to a .01 without consequence). ORANGE COUNTY WEEKLY’s Nick Schou is the one who obtained the toxicology reports, against the wishes of the DA’s office.

Courtney Stewart tox report

While it still doesn’t come close to excusing Andrew Gallo’s choice to drive drunk, and it doesn’t change the fact that Gallo is the one who ran a red light to cause the crash, it certainly is now reasonable for Gallo’s lawyer to argue that Stewart’s impairment could’ve played just as large a role in the accident as his client did. TMZ also reports that Stewart tested positive for an “illegal substance.” Still a horrible tragedy all around, but this definitely calls Adenhart’s judgment into question, as it looks like he chose to get into a car with an underage drunk (and possibly high) driver. What if Stewart had been sober? Would she have been able to see Gallo running the light and stop in time? We’ll never know.

• D.C. SPORTS BOG exposes what is either an unholy union between the Redskins and that LOL cats site, or somebody hacked the ‘Skins website and put a kitty’s picture in place of Jason Campbell (and really, you have the ability to hack into an NFL team’s site and that’s what you do?):

Redskins website cat

• Elsewhere in D.C., we found out last night exactly how many Nats fans would wait through a rain delay to see if their team could come back from a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the 9th inning — less than 100. That’s how many folks were on hand after a two hour delay to see their team rally to tie the game, only to lose it in the 12th. This despite converting the popular 4-3-6-4-6 double play in that inning.

• Everyone’s been talking about Zack Greinke all year, but Justin Verlander might be the best pitcher in the AL Central. He cruised to a complete-game victory over the White Sox last night to move to 7-0 in his last nine starts.

• Boy, who could’ve ever predicted that Jameer Nelson might not play that well in the Finals after not having played a game since before the All-Star break?

• If things keep going the way they are, according the WASHINGTON POST, the entire LPGA Tour will soon be available for you to hire for your bachelor party.

Play Golf Designs

We know that Joe Montana’s kid has committed to play football at Washington, but current Huskies QB Jake Locker had some big news of his own today — he was drafted by the Angels in the 10th round of the MLB draft. If Locker signs a baseball contract, he’ll still be eligible to play football for UW but will lose his scholarship.

Marcin Gortat has a sweet ride to go with that Jordan tattoo.

Marcin Gortat car

Brett Favre is apparently in trouble for not showing up to organized team activities for a team he doesn’t even play for. Favre’s non-coach, Brad Childress, says he set no deadline for Favre to accept the team’s non-offer to play for them. For now, the Vikings are now going to feign disinterest in having Favre around but will eventually pass him a note asking him if he’d want to go to training camp with them.

• Funny how everyone is so bent out of shape about Stephen Strasburg asking for $25 million or more to pitch for the Nationals, but nobody bats an eye when fifth-overall pick Mark Sanchez gets $28 million in guaranteed money from the Jets. But think of all the nice stuff Mark can buy for girlfriend Hilary Rhoda:

Hilary Rhoda

Knowing now that the underage driver of Nick Adenhart’s car had been drinking, does that change your view of the accident?

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Speed Read: Pens’ Power Play Keys Game 3 Win

The Pittsburgh Penguins finally figured out what they hadn’t been doing very well the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals — cheating! Give the Pens credit for taking it to the Red Wings in the the third period (outshooting them 10-3), but there’s no doubt that the home team benefited from a few calls that led to a 4-2 win and a manageable 2-1 series deficit. Max Talbot scored twice, including an empty-netter to put it away in the final minute.

Penguins win game 3

The most egregious no-call of the night came when the Penguins played for 21 seconds with six skaters on the ice — which four on-ice officials somehow failed to notice. Or did they? According to this MLIVE blog entry, Wings analyst Mickey Redmond said that the officials actually saw the Pens with too many men, and then told them to get a guy off the ice instead of calling a penalty. That’s a pretty serious accusation by Redmond, and an inexcusable show of judgment by the officiating crew if true. I know that linesmen will sometimes say something to guy who’s slow to get off the ice during a line change instead of whistling a penalty, but if there are six guys hanging out in the attacking zone (as there were last night), that’s supposed to be called 100% of the time. Soon after, the Wings were whistled for a penalty and Kris Letang scored on the power play to tie the game at 2-2.

lots of Penguins

(an approximation of the scene in front of Chris Osgood on Tuesday)

More pivotal to the outcome, however, was the questionable call against Jonathan Ericsson in the third period that led to Sergei Gonchar’s game-winning goal, while Pittsburgh’s Hal Gill has been doing basically the same thing over and over again all series long without getting called for it (This Finnish guy will tell you all about it).

Hal Gill decking Darren Helm

Conspiracy theories abound that the league has had enough of the Wings winning and want to get Sidney Crosby in the winner’s circle to further secure his status as the league’s golden boy. It was Gary Bettman’s birthday yesterday, and there’s no doubt he’d like for this series (the highest-rated thus far since 2002) to go the distance. The DETROIT FREE PRESS even noted that Tony Kornheiser suggested on PTI that this is what Bettman would like as a gift:

“And now as a birthday present to himself, Bettman will instruct the referees to make sure Pittsburgh wins the next two games at home and Sidney Crosby gets a hat trick in each.”

If the Penguins can get another win on Thursday, they’ll at least ensure that this guy can “perform” to “Crazy Train” one more time this year:

Referee disputes aside, the Penguins were up to the challenge last night and the Wings have to be kicking themselves for not being able to convert on a 14-4 shot advantage in the second period. That was Detroit’s chance to seize control of the game and get the crowd out of it. And I’m sure Osgood wants the Gonchar goal back, as even though he was screened, he made a lackluster attempt to catch the puck when he did finally get a look at it.

Now, let’s move on to more important things. Like which professional sports team is going to be the first to be decimated by the swine flu.

Carlos Beltran and John Maine have missed some time over the last week with a mysterious stomach virus, leading some to wonder half-jokingly if they’ve been infected with the dreaded H1N1. Well, the half that wasn’t joking should start paying attention. FANHOUSE says a producer for Mets broadcaster SNY, who travels with the team, has been quarantined at a New York hospital with possible swine flu symptoms. The NY DAILY NEWS notes that the Mets assistant GM John Ricco is insisting that the symptoms being felt by Beltran and Maine are different, and that there’s nothing at all to be alarmed about. Ricco then added that he picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

Mr. Met

(do I need Tamiflu?)

And now, here’s some links that are more worth your time than reading what US Weekly’s terrible commenters think about Conan O’Brien:

• I bet you’ll be shocked to learn that there were some shenanigans going on in a regional soccer tournament in Brazil. Due to a combination of red cards and injuries, one team was down to six men (the other only had eight left) which isn’t legal. So the ref called the game off and both teams celebrated as if they had won, while their fans brawled in the stands. Apparently the whole thing was set off by noted Brazilian regional soccer bad-boy Ronaldo Artest.

• The possible secret weapon in negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea? How about Michael Jordan. The NEW YORK TIMES says that the reported successor to Kim Jong-il is his youngest son Kim Jong-un (as opposed to one of the many other Kim Jong-suffixes running around out there), who is a big fan of His Airness. That’s mostly because they’ve just finally received VHS footage of the 1994-95 NBA season in North Korea.

Michael Jordan

(Kim Jong-un just heard about this new band called Silverchair too)

• Want to know more about the man who motivated Jordan to become the best ever? Check out Leroy Smith’s official website (thanks to the SMOKING SECTION for the tip):

Yeah, I thought it was Eddie Murphy at first too. But it’s way too funny for him to be involved with, which is why it makes much more sense that this is Charlie Murphy, Eddie’s brother and “Chapelle’s Show” stalwart. Murphy’s playing the alter ego to the hilt, even doing an interview in character with Scoop Jackson.

• After a brief respite in 2007 and 2008, the Cubs are Cubbin’ it up again. Last night in Atlanta they yakked up a 5-0 lead in the 8th inning (including a 5-3 lead with 2 outs in the 9th) and lost 6-5 in 12 to the Braves. Cubs starter Randy Wells had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings, and all he gets is a lousy no-decision. Said closer Kevin Gregg: “The five combined runs we gave up in the eighth and ninth innings was uncalled for.”

• If Randy Johnson can beat the Nationals tonight, he’ll become possibly the last (and perhaps the surliest) MLB pitcher to win 300 games. And he’ll do it by beating the franchise for which he made his debut 21 years ago. They play in a different city now, but still draw 8,000 fans a game…in a brand new stadium. Well done D.C.

• Speaking of the Nats, FEDERAL BASEBALL says they’ve axed pitching coach Randy St. Claire, a holdover from the Montreal days. The Nats are 14-36, and manager Manny Acta is rumored to be next to go. You know it’s getting bad when local TV analyst Rob Dibble can’t resist calling the Nats a “beer league softball team.”

• Washington took down the Women’s College World Series with a 3-2 win over Florida last night. The Huskies played on the road for the entire postseason, and barely escaped elimination more than once during their run. Then they swept two games from a Gator team that lost only three of their other 66 games this year. Just five years ago the Huskies were wrapped up in a drug scandal that resulted in their coach being fired.

Washington softball WCWS champs

• Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Phillies pitching sensation Antonio Bastardo. Enjoy the first time you have a bad start at the Bank, dude.

President Obama’s new Supreme Court nominees include a Buddhist, a Spanish guy, and a candy addict.

• I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks that Jameer Nelson playing in the Finals is an awful idea, even if he is healthy enough. I love Jameer, but he hasn’t played in a game since February, while Rafer Alston has been doing a great job running the Magic in the playoffs. Why mess with that?

Vicente Padilla isn’t Mark Teixeira’s favorite guy right now.  And why did Carlos Zambrano not bother to show up for the Cubs’ flight to Atlanta?

Which league’s officiating is the most “rigged”?

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Speed Read: Can We End The Stanley Cup Finals?

Let’s be honest with ourselves: the Penguins are done. Sure, technically all Detroit did on Sunday night was hold home ice advantage with their 3-1 win over Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the same score as Game 1. But their 2-0 lead pretty much feels insurmountable - does anyone feel like the Penguins can take four of the next five games against the Red Wings? Didn’t think so.

Chris Osgood

Especially since the Red Wings and their old, tired legs, were able to outhustle, outskate and just plain outplay the Penguins 24 hours after Game 1, a made-for-TV contrivance that was supposed to be their downfall. Pittsburgh’s Big Two of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined for one goal in the first two games, half as many as Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader, who was playing minor-league hockey in May. And both of his goals have been beauties, including his singlehanded effort last night:

The bottom line for Pittsburgh is simple: when their main goal scorers are being held in check, and their goaltending is soft, they are going to lose. It doesn’t matter how much revenge they want, or if Evgeni Malkin tries to start fights to fire the team up - Detroit is just the better team (and doing this without Pavel Datsyuk, mind you).

Speaking of Malkin’s fisticuffs: despite picking up an instigator penalty at the end of Game 2, which should be an automatic one-game suspension, the NHL has decided that Malkin will be on the ice when the serious returns to Pittsburgh. Think the league wants to avoid a sweep?

OK, remember how Texas beat Boston College 3-2 in 25 innings Friday night-slash-Saturday morning in an NCAA baseball tournament game? Well, their following opponents were Army, and while the game ended in nine innings, it was just as dramatic as the BC contest. The Longhorns scored eight times in the ninth inning for a 14-10 win, including a walk-off grand slam by Preston Clark. Check out the highlights here:

With the win, Texas advances to the Super Regional, where they will play TCU in a Best-of-Three series that will likely come down to the final pitch of Game Three. Seriously, guys, it’s OK just to win a 5-1 snoozer every once in a while. (Or if you are Florida State, a 37-6 snoozer.)

Jamie Moyer

Finally, congratulations for Jamie Moyer for getting his 250th career win yesterday, a 4-2 Phillies win over the Nationals. (And really, shouldn’t that could as half a win?) The achievements of the 46-year-old goes to show that not being able to throw hard enough to break glass isn’t a prerequisite to being successful. And it also shows that if you are a lefty with a durable arm, even a 4.23 career ERA can’t keep you from reaching some big milestones.

  • Give Brad Childress credit for having a good sense of humor: he busted out a nifty fake wig atop his notorious chrome dome at practice, and then said that he would only wear it during the season “if it had ‘Reebok’ across the top of it.” Here’s the photographic evidence (and it still looked better than Jared Allen’s hair):
  • Brad Childress

  • BLACK SPORTS ONLINE wants LeBron James to “man up” and shake hands after getting knocked out of the playoffs, or come to the post-game press conference. Two things he didn’t do last night after the Magic bounced the Cavs.
  • The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim rallied from a seven-run deficit in the final three innings to beat the Mariners 9-8 yesterday. Talk to Texas about it, guys.
  • I’m making a list of pitchers who don’t want to go to the Chicago White Sox, and apparently every No. 1 is on the list. First it was Jake Peavy of the Padres rejecting a deal, and now the HOUSTON CHRONICLE is saying that Roy Oswalt of the Astros will exercise his veto rights to nix any deal. But I’m sure Barry Zito is still available.
  • Here’s one way to break out of 0-for-18 slump: Ali Gardiner ripped a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the last inning to lift the Florida over Alabama 6-5 to send the Gators to the College Softball World Series championship game.
  • How not to win your first PGA Tour tournament: miss putts inside 10 feet on the final hole of regulation and the first hole of a playoff, and then have your approach on the second playoff hole ricochet off the pin and roll back more than 20 feet from the hole. Steve Stricker was the beneficiary of Tim Clark’s bad luck/meltdown, picking up the Crowne Plaza Invitational.
  • The Orlando Magic thought they had lost All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson to injury for the season back in February, but now the ORLANDO SENTINEL is saying that the rehab for his shoulder injury is “dramatically” ahead of schedule and he might be available for the NBA Finals.
  • Arkansas DT Lavunce Askew was arrested on Saturday after allegedly stealing a laptop from an apartment. His teammate Matt Marshall also stole an iPod Touch, but was not charged after he returned it to the doorstep and helped police track down Askew. See, Marshall might be a thief and a stool pigeon, but his heart is in the right place.
  • World champion hurdler Jana Rawlinson was forced to confirm an embarrassing, poorly-kept secret circulating around the track world for months. Not that she’s using PEDs, but that she had breast augmentation. You would think if there’s one sport where being busty is a disadvantage, it’s hurdling. Check out some Russ Meyer-approved before and after action:
  • Jana Rawlinson

  • A tough week for auto racing: two veteran drivers are killed in separate short-track racing incidents in the Midwest.

Other than Kobe and Superman, who is the most important player in the NBA Finals?

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